Casino roulette wheel with sector zero and white ball. Closeup.

Martingale System

Everyone is always looking for a betting system. A sure-fire way to win. And the Martingale system is one such system that dates back to France in the 1700s. Mathematical rules do not change and, therefore, it’s not uncommon for some players in today’s casinos feeling as though they have reinvented the wheel when they bring this system to the table.

The System Explained

The system was originally used to wipe out losses in a simple game of a coin toss, where the probability of a head or a tail is 50% or one in two. The basic principle is as follows: The player bets on heads and loses. So he then doubles his bet and bets again on heads in order to recover his losses and make a profit.

Should he or she lose again on the second bet, it’s a case of rinse and repeat until eventually, they win. And, therefore, in principle, this eliminates the possibility of losing. Sounds good, in principle, right? So far, so good.

The Martingale System In Roulette 

Since the probability of playing red and black or odds and evens, in roulette, is roughly 50% (save for that pesky zero and or double zero), then the application of the Martingale system is possible. However, betting strategies are fraught with problems. And the Martingale system is also an imperfect system that non-mathematicians fail to recognise on immediate inspection.

So, let’s say I head to the roulette table and I begin to play my Martingale system. In UK roulette, minimum outside bets are usually 50 pence. These are bets on single numbers or a few numbers. And inside numbers such as odds/evens which we are concerned with are usually £5.

Playing The Martingale System

There are also maximum limits placed on inside and outside bets on both normal and high roller tables that refer to betting amounts and maximum payouts. All of which is important to remember before we begin to use this particular system. And is significant as we’ll see when we start to play.

My first bet is on red for £5. I lose. So now I double and play £10. If I were to win, I would have £20 now so I would have covered my losses from the previous game. I would have staked £15 in total and, therefore, made a profit of £5. But I don’t win. I lose again.

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So on to round three. This time to double it’s £40. I lose again and continue with the system. This time to double it’s £80, then £160, £320, £640, £1,280, £2,560, £5,120, £10,240. By round eleven, most casinos even at high roller tables, will not allow bets of this amount.

So, you would have lost the sum total of £20,475. But that’s if you kept on playing. And most people would have stopped well before then, as it requires lots of money to keep going. You can see how fast doubling increases your stake, so only people with infinite or pretty extreme wealth can realistically continue this system of play. And you must double to recoup your stake and cover your losses.

Also, as mathematicians will know, each time the roulette spins or a coin is tossed, this is a randomly occurring event. Therefore, the chances of a red after ten blacks is still just as high as a black. The previous ten blacks have no bearing on the new event. Yet people intuitively think “There’s no chance of 11 blacks in a row.” Yes, there is. So once again the Martingale system is flawed when people think that. You will eventually win given no limits on tables and wealth. But as you can see there are limits on both. So, use this system with extreme caution!

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